It wasn’t until 2010 that someone finally demanded Joseph be taken out of the Nazi home. Ironically, the demand came from Leticia, who had been absent from his life for six years. Filing for full custody of Joseph and Cindy, Leticia stated in her brief, “Jeffrey Hall is currently president in the neo-Nazi group and I’m really scared of what will happen to my kids.”
The woman who allegedly subjected her son to prenatal drug exposure and who fled the state after her boyfriend was accused of sexually molesting Joseph wound up the only adult on record calling for him to be released from a home full of Nazi uniforms, hate speech, and weapons. Yet Riverside’s family court found that Jeffrey’s leadership within the NSM was not grounds for removing the children. Leticia’s request was denied.
In May of 2011, a 10-year-old boy shoots his neo-Nazi father in the head while he sleeps. This week, in Buzzfeed, Natasha writes a thorough and clear-eyed indictment of a society in which this is allowed to happen. A heartbreaking and powerful read.
Hey all. As everyone knows, the internet’s best-kept secret is how extraordinarily talented all my friends are. Let’s talk about that for a second.
MY FRIEND SHANNON HARNEY IS SOOO TALENTED!
Shannon writes deeply personal songs and performs them beautifully (example above). I’d describe her music as a three-way mix of Fiona Apple, Joanna Newsom, and a sudden summoning of strength from a wounded bird, so, you know, if you’re into that kind of thing, check her out. (In case it wasn’t clear, I fit squarely in the “into that kind of thing” column.) Shannon’s new album Cat Called is a straight-up fragile masterpiece and it’s available for download and CD here. You can even stream the whole album before deciding whether or not to buy it. (You should buy it.)
MY FRIEND ADAM GOLDMAN IS SOOO TALENTED!
The Outs is a new web series directed by, co-written by, and starring my friend Adam Goldman, but the phrase “web series” feels inadequate to describe what it actually is. The show, which chronicles the highs and mostly lows of a Brooklyn homosexual and his assorted friends and enemies, has already been praised all over the gay internet, but if you’ve ever been a disaffected self-destructive twenty-something, gay or straight, you’ll probably be able to relate to Adam’s darkly funny and surprisingly moving opus. The Outs has released three episodes already that you can shotgun here, here, and here, and there are more coming. There are a few hours left on their kickstarter campaign, so if you like what you see, throw them a couple bucks.
MY FRIEND MATT WING IS SOOO TALENTED!
Have you ever read a news report about Governor Andrew Cuomo and thought, yeah, that’s all well and good but who’s the guy behind the guy behind the guy? Well, the answer is my friend Matt Wing, Cuomo’s Deputy Communications Director. Matt was recently named a Rising Star 40 Under 40, and even if the order of those words confuses me, I can’t quibble with the message behind it, because Matt is the kind of guy you want in government: hard-working, principled and well-informed. He’s one of the good guys is what I’m saying. Put another way: if Aaron Sorkin controlled the universe, all politicians would be like Matt.
“This has a really strong chemical taste,” he says. “Horrible drip. My stomach is already cramping.”
After a few minutes, I ask John how he feels. “My heart is going really fast. I don’t know if it feels good. I mean, I feel up, like way up, but I don’t feel good, you know?” He laughs. So does Deanna. He blinks hard a few times and lights a cigarette. “I mean, it’s different from methadone or heroin. It’s a high that feels more like crystal, like I’m fluttering inside.”
Natasha told me she was working on this piece weeks ago and I couldn’t understand what she was talking about. “What do you mean, bath salts? Like bath salts bath salts? Do you put them in your bath? Okay, but is it the same stuff as normal bath salts? Like how is it related? So then why is it called that? I don’t understand this at all.” Then, like a week later, bath salts was all anyone coud talk about. This is a great piece, and Natasha Vargas-Cooper is a reporter with her finger on the pulse, is what I’m saying. MY FRIENDS ARE SOOO TALENTED.
Julia Vickerman is a tremendously gifted artist and DrawSomething player (even if she couldn’t guess “AMAZON” from me scribbling “1 BOOB!” and underlining it three times) who this month organized a show of Kristen Stewart-inspired art at the Meltdown on Sunset. I missed the opening reception, because Passover happened, but luckily for me, (and you!) the show is staying up through the 20th. I went yesterday and it was really fantastic— a marvelously eclectic collection of works inspired by popular film actress Kristen Stewart, many by the very talented Julia Vickerman herself. If you don’t live in LA, a bunch of the pieces are being posted heeeeeere.
MY FRIEND JULIA SEGAL IS SOOO TALENTED!
If you don’t know who Julia Segal is, hello, have you met… the internet?!?!!?! Julia updates her tumblr and twitter regularly, but she’s also hilarious IRL (that’s internet-speak for “In Real Life”). If you live in New York, you should check out her stand-up. If you ever have friends in the hospital, you should buy them Julia’s book. Also, I don’t want to blow up Julia’s street cred or nothing, but SHE IS A TOTAL SWEETHEART.
SURPRISE NON-JULIA SNEAK ATTACK: MY FRIEND SIOBHAN DOHERTY IS SOOO TALENTED!
Siobhan is a fantastic SF-based actress I’ve known for years and years and years. I’ve seen her be the best part of too many terrible plays to mention, but I’ve also had the distinct pleasure of seeing her be the best part of very good plays, too. She’s currently starring in a documentary play about San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, and her theater company is running a fundraiser in order to offer discounted and free tickets to members of the Tenderloin district. Their fundraiser is ending tonight! So, watch their video and throw them a couple bucks! And if you’re in the Bay Area, go see their play!
MY FRIEND JULIA FREY IS SOOO TALENTED!
Julia Frey is also an actress, seen here breaking up with me:
She’s one of the stars of the Olde English movie, which you’ll be able to see later this year. “Like” the movie on Facebook for updates about that. Julia is great in it.
What else has Julia been working on? I have no idea! But I did just get a mass-email from her saying she’s looking for a subletter, so if you need a $850 Gowanus/Park Slope bedroom for May (utilities included), drop her a line at JuliaFrey (followed by the at symbol) gmail (followed by a period) com. Be warned, her roommates have a cat, but she mostly stays in the other room.
MORE KVELLING, LIKE FOR REAL, A FIRE HOSE OF KVELLING COMING YOUR WAY RIGHT NOW.
MY FRIEND LISA HANAWALT IS SOOO TALENTED!
I kind of assume that everyone who reads this blog is also a fan of Lisa’s, but if you’re not already, seriously? What is your deal? Lisa makes hilarious and beautiful things like this:
Also, I just bought that, so you can’t have it. Find something else.
She’s written for the Believer, the Hairpin, and enough other things that frankly it would be annoying if she weren’t so talented and also just the sweetest person you’d ever want to meet. She recently wrote a piece for Vanity Fair about The Vow, and it is DEAD ON. (Uh… not that I saw The Vow or anything. Okay, I totally did.)
Also, one time my roommate’s dog pooped in the middle of the living room floor while my roommate was at work and I called Lisa and she talked me out of a nervous breakdown.
MY FRIEND ADAM JANOS IS SOOO TALENTED!
Last year Adam put up a musical in New York called Go Phone Yourself and it killed me that I couldn’t see it, as he’s responsible for some of my all-time favorite music, and some of my all-time favorite long phone conversations about feelings. He recently posted the soundtrack to the show HERE and I listened to it while cooking dinner, and then again while eating dinner, and then again, and then also another again. Even without the context of the show, the soundtrack is at moments haunting and funny and devastating, if just slightly more than a little confusing. RAPHAEL RECOMMENDS.
MY FRIEND CAROLINE DAMON IS SOOO TALENTED!
Caroline is my best friend and that is a title she has EARNED time and time again by being the best. She’s supportive and encouraging when I need her, but also isn’t afraid to call me on my shit and keep me humble. These qualities also made her a great teacher when she worked at a public school in the Bronx. I mean, I would assume. I wasn’t there.
Caroline now works at a nonprofit called Citizen Schools and what they do is (I can already hear her bitching at me because I know I’m going to butcher it) basically they— actually you know what? I’m just going to let her explain it. She’s currently fundraising and is inches away from her goal. Read what she has to say about the program in her own words here and see if you don’t want to throw her ten bucks. I can’t tell you how good you’ll feel about yourself after. This is money well-spent. An organization that hires Caroline is an organization that knows what it’s doing. She’s one of the smartest people I know, especially when it comes to education, but also when it comes to, hey, maybe you shouldn’t wear that t-shirt in public if you don’t want everyone to think you’re an idiot.
I have so many talented friends and they make me so proud. EXCUSE ME WHILE I KVELL.
MY FRIEND ELOISE MUMFORD IS SOOO TALENTED!
Eloise is a phenomenally good actress who you might recognize from the 2010 Fox drama Lone Star if you watched one of the two episodes before it got cancelled, or, more likely, from a reading of a play I did back in 2007 if you are my friend. Starting February 7th, she’s starring on ABC’s new thriller The River, and everybody should watch it and make it a big hit. Also, Eloise spent the summer between shooting the pilot and the series volunteering for the local soup kitchen and Habitat for Humanity. WHAT A MENSCH!
MY FRIEND PETER ATENCIO IS SOOO TALENTED!
Peter directed every sketch of every episode of the upcoming Key & Peele on Comedy Central. I went to a taping of two episodes last week and I had a blast. Key and Peele have a fantastic chemistry, the show is written by a stable of wonderful writers (including Charlie Sanders who is also my friend and who is also SOOO TALENTED), and Peter’s artful direction gives many of the pieces a short film feel that transcends typical sketch comedy. Key & Peele premieres January 31st on Comedy Central.
MY FRIEND ADAM CONOVER IS SOOO TALENTED!
I used to live with Adam in Brooklyn and it was more or less like this. Now, Adam’s in LA for three months writing for a sketch show on Vh1 called Stevie TV. I have no idea when it premieres — March, I think? But everyone should watch it and talk about it and post screen caps on tumblr, even if it’s bad, because if there’s a second season, maybe they’ll fly Adam back out to LA next year so I can spend more time with one of my best friends.
MY FRIEND EMILY HARPER IS SOOO TALENTED!
Emily produces award shows. Most recently she was a coordinating producer for the Critics Choice Movie Awards, and right now she’s starting to put together the MTV Movie Awards. Emily is also one of the people who inspired me to go vegan, although now she’s a raw foodist and that is too weird for me. She also has a small job on the Oscars this year! She has to visit the sets of the parody video shoots and make sure they match the movies they’re parodying. So if you’re watching the Academy Awards this year and you think, wow, this stupid bit really looks like the scene from that movie, remember that’s my friend Emily and she is SOOO TALENTED.
MY FRIEND DAN GREGOR IS SOOO TALENTED!
Dan is a writer for How I Met Your Mother, and last year he and his writing partner wrote the episode where Neil Patrick Harris gets to know his dad Jon Lithgow and it was the best episode of the season. They also wrote the episode that aired last night with Alyson Hannigan’s dad Chris Elliott. I guess dads is their thing? Anyway, it was hilarious because Dan Gregor is hilarious.
MY FRIEND DAVE SEGAL IS SOOO TALENTED!
Every once in a while, Dave starts a new blog, and they’re all fantastic. Most recently, he’s been keeping shop at davesegal.com, writing about whatever strikes his fancy. Dave’s writing is precise, persuasive, hilarious, and quietly moving when he wants to be, such as in this great essay about the incredible power of one sad song, and I can’t wait to see where this new blog goes.
MY FRIEND NATASHA VARGAS-COOPER IS SOOO TALENTED!
Natasha is a writer! But not like a bullshit TV writer like all my other friends; she is a journalist! She’s most famous for writing this great book about Mad Men, but she also does work for important periodicals like The Atlantic. Just today, GQ published the latest in her ongoing column about movies: a reevaluation of American Beauty, which she hilariously describes as “a pitifully pre-9/11 movie: We were prosperous! There’s no war! We have a good economy! Yet we are still sad!” Astute observation, Natasha! You are SOOO TALENTED.
Hi. My name is Raphael and this is where I write about my feelings. I am in the comedy group Olde English and we made this movie. I currently live in Los Angeles where I spend the majority of my time trying to find a parking space.